The north end of Thong Lor (Sukhumvit Soi 55) gets really backed up with traffic, especially on weekend afternoons. Lots of shoppers going to lots of shops and sometimes you end up sitting for several minutes. Yes, these moments of stuck traffic give me amazing opportunities to really see this fascinating neighborhood in which I live.
The street is about 3 km (2 miles) long with a Skytrain station at the south end. There is a special transit system, a fleet of aging Mercedes Benz busses that spew coarse black smoke, that run up and down the soi, picking up riders at the Skytrain station, several stops along the way, until terminating at the khlong (canal) pier on the north end of the street.
These bright red unairconditioned busses park at the north end of the street when they are not in use. While sitting in traffic, I watched as two men refueled one of the buses in the most ad-hoc manner: gravity-fed through a rubber hose connected to a plastic fuel jug.
The color and the composition both spoke to me but I was equally fascinated that the younger man was smoking while doing this. I wondered if I kept the camera ready, would I be able to capture a good picture of the explosion without losing my life in the process?
I never found out as traffic started moving and there was, to the best of my knowledge, no explosion.
Also along the street, which is known for its abundance of wedding boutiques, I saw a plant vendor pause in the shade in front of a window displaying a wedding gown.
Again, a wonderful contrast that exemplifies this neighborhood: it is called the Beverly Hills of Bangkok, but at the same time all segments of the socioeconomic spectrum are represented here, both living and working. That is something I really like about Krungthep: there is a huge gap between the haves and have-nots, but the gap isn’t physical.